David Kennard says ‘nearly every day’ during the holiday week he has had sheep attacked by dogs at Morte Point

Mortehoe shepherd David Kennard, pictured with his dog Fly.Mortehoe shepherd David Kennard, pictured with his dog Fly.

A well-known North Devon shepherd has called for dog owners to keep their pets on a lead near livestock after publishing a picture of a savaged lamb on Facebook.

David Kennard, who farms sheep at Morte Point in Mortehoe, put the picture of a lamb with a bloodied back leg and neck on his Borough Farm Sheepdogs page today (Monday).

He wrote: "I hate to bring negativity to the Facebook page, but this week has been one of the most difficult from a farming perspective.

"Nearly every day this week I have had sheep attacked by dogs on the coastal ground of Morte Point. This morning I retrieved the lamb in the picture, with puncture wounds to the neck and over half the skin torn from the back leg."

He said the dog owner responsible had not reported the attack, while earlier this week he was sent video of a large white dog driving sheep over the edge, with the owner making no attempt to stop it.

"Pet dogs make a massive contribution to the happiness of millions of family lives across the country, and walking in such a special place is a great recreation for so many people with their dogs.

"But the frequency of these attacks is increasing at an alarming rate, not just for me but also for my sheep-farming friends up and down the country.

"All dogs possess an inherent instinct to chase and attack sheep, and once in 'hunt' mode, there is no amount of calling and shouting that will stop them.

"So my plea is to ask everyone you know to keep your dog on a lead when walking near livestock, and avoid this unnecessary suffering for the sheep, and all the resultant problems for those of us trying our best to earn a living from farming."

Police recently warned dog owners they could be held responsible for the crime if their pet attacks livestock and could face claims for financial damages. A farmer is also well within his rights to shoot a dog if it attacks livestock on his land.